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URA seeking public feedback on changes to commercial property sales rules

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is seeking public feedback on the key proposed changes to the Sale of Commercial Properties Act (SCPA) and Sale of Commercial Properties Rules (SCPR).

This is to better protect buyers in their purchases of uncompleted non-residential properties, it said in a statement on Monday.

The changes will improve transparency and raise industry standards to help buyers make informed decisions.

The URA is also consulting the public on proposed anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism requirements to be imposed on all residential and non-residential developers.

Members of the public can visit to leave their feedback from now until March 12.

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URA has also reached out to industry stakeholders such as the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore for their feedback on the proposed changes.

The URA said that it will take the feedback into consideration before finalising the changes to the SCPA and SCPR legislation.

Some of the proposed changes to the SCPA - first enacted in 1979 to address unfair sale practices in non-residential properties - include requiring developers to obtain a sale licence before they can sell units in uncompleted non-residential projects with more than four strata units. Developers will have to meet minimum qualifying requirements before they can obtain the sale licence.

Developers selling uncompleted non-residential projects will also be required to open and maintain a project account to ensure that purchasers' progress payments are used only for purposes related to the project.

In addition, the URA is looking at rolling out new rules on advertisements, such as having non-residential developers provide basic and accurate information on the project, such as the tenure and the expected date of vacant possession. Advertisements must be in accordance with the plans approved by the authorities, and must not contain any false or misleading information.

To allow buyers to have sufficient information to make informed decisions, non-residential developers will also be required to provide additional key information on the project before accepting a booking fee from a prospective buyer, such as the drawn-to-scale floor plan that should depict all floor spaces (for example, air-con ledges and void) in the strata unit, as well as the developer's track record.

Show units will also have to accurately depict the actual approved units.

The URA is also proposing to require non-residential developers to obtain buyers' consent for any changes to the unit or substantive changes to the common property - if the changes made are not due to new requirements introduced by the authorities. In the case of changes made due to new requirements set by the authorities, developers will only need to inform the buyers, since these are mandatory requirements that developers have to comply with.

Feedback is also being sought on amending the payment schedule to set aside 4 per cent of the purchase price for defects rectification, so that buyers can claim the cost of rectification works if the non-residential developer fails to carry out the works.

In terms of the proposed anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism requirements, developers will be required to implement measures to meet Singapore's obligation to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

New rules will be implemented to impose the requirements on all residential and non-residential developers, such as having to conduct customer due diligence checks to verify a customer's identity, maintain transaction documents and customer due diligence checks for a specified time period following the termination or completion of a transaction.

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